Born of the Sea

Preparing for a phased retirement on the sea. Muirgen (Gaelic for 'born of the sea')

Summer 2022 - Turkey - Late Summer - Return to English Harbour

03 October 2022
Donna Cariss
We raised the sails as soon as we left Oren Marina. Initially the wind was variable, in direction and we had to tack a few times to move away from the land but as we left the hills of the north shore behind, the wind direction steadied and we were heading south, towards the Seven Islands. The swell was largely on the beam (side) but with full sails up and doing an average 5 knots, we weren't rolling too much. Bruce had suggested we meet him for dinner, at the Global Sailing restaurant in Karacasogut but we were fully provisioned with fresh food and the wind wasn't taking us in that direction. However, we were blessed, as the wind slowly came round to allow us to sail further west, such that we were on course for Derigen Buku. As the wind came round and we pinched up, the swell came more behind us than on the beam, which was also to our advantage, as we could surf down the waves a little. I was at the helm for most of the sail across the gulf, only occasionally resorting to the autohelm. There were a couple of yachts in the approaches to Derigen Buku, one of which we decided was a training school boat, as it was constantly tacking to change direction. We ignored it in terms of right of way but eventually it dropped its sails and motored in ahead of us. We were able to sail all the way into Derigen Buku and could have sailed right to English Harbour but for a slight worry that we had a riding turn on the roller reefing and we wanted to get the foresail in with plenty of room and time to spare. There wasn't a riding turn but better safe then sorry. We dropped the mainsail and Pete tidied the lines and readied the anchor and long lines. When we arrived at English harbour, there was a 'queue' as a gullet was waiting for a motor boat to depart and the yacht we had seen was waiting to moor up where the gullet was waiting. The yacht turned out to be our Scottish friends, Kevin and David, so we shouted that we were coming round them and the gullet to go deeper into the anchorage. There was a small motor yacht swinging at anchor, right in the middle of the bay, cutting off access to several potential mooring spaces. Pete decided that he didn't give a damn about the motor boat's anchor and dropped anchor beyond it and reversed back to the shore. It took 2 attempts to get the anchor to hold, as it had previously when anchoring here and we decided that it was due to dropping the anchor where the depth is increasing, making it difficult for the anchor to fly in.
In the afternoon, Pete took his guitar out of its bag for the first time in about 2 years and decided to tune it. He must have been turning the screw the wrong way, or maybe it was just damaged from heat and salty air and lack of use but a string broke and that was the end of that. Almost immediately after, Dave swam up to the side of the boat, so we invited him on board for a beer. Apart from the exercise, he had come to invite us for sundowners. The 3 of us went in the dinghy, with Pete rowing. We were introduced to Nigel and Alex, who had joined the boat at the weekend. We all got on very well and were invited to stay for tea. Pete went back to our boat to get a bottle of wine. Dave and Kevin told us about some of the incidents that had befallen them on their 'Voyage of the Damned' and Kevin said he would never bareboat charter again, as he had found it so stressful. They had lost 100 metres of chain and anchor in 20 metres of water, when the windlass failed and not realising they could pull it up by hand, hard though it may be, they had paid for a diver who then made them pull it up manually anyway. They had also lost the swim ladder over the side and we meeting a diver the next morning to recover it. Pete offered to do it, having his dive gear on board but the diver was already booked and would be paid for by the insurance. They had also had to return to Oren several times for repairs. After tea, we all played cards, with me being quite successful. At the end of the night, Dave donated all their spare provisions, rice, herbs and spices, pasta sauce, as they would not be eating on board again before their sailing came to an end and they went to visit Istanbul for a couple of days. We returned to the boat, rowing in the pitch black, with the stars and the anchor light to guide us.
On Thursday, another two British flagged yachts came in. One we had seen before and is Turkish owned; the other had the blue ensign of a Royal yacht club, so we assumed would be British owned. We headed over in the dinghy for a chat, as a British, privately owned yacht is rare in Gokova. It was an English man but he lives in Turkey and has a Turkish wife. He wasn't particularly chatty so we went for a row around the bay, watching the kingfishers, which are now feeling commonplace. Bruce arrived in his big catamaran, so I went aboard to do his lines at that end and Pete took the lines ashore and once settled, had tea and a chat. Bruce said his dinner at Global Sailing was expensive but extremely good and a treat for his birthday. We invited him to join us for tea but he suggested we have a barbie on his cat. We went 'home' to marinade some chicken wings in Colman's b
Bombay potato spice mix, as Bruce was missing a good curry. Later, a gullet tried to leave but his chain was stuck under Bruce's, so Pete sped over to help him with his lines again. Next, Ghenghis arrived again and we waved hello. I had a swim and with the string wind and the cool air temperature of 27.8C, it was very chilly when I got out. I left Pete to find that out for himself later on. The BBQ with Bruce was fantastic. There was far too much food but Bruce cooked it all, so we could have barbecued chicken the next day too. The spicy chicken wings were a hit with Bruce too, so we donated a packet of Bombay potato mix to him. We will be bringing more out next time. A cardigan was required after dark and the blanket came out for the bed again that night. At 9am next morning it was only 17C; not what we are used to. It's amazing how you acclimatise in a couple of weeks. At least it was calm and sunny. Bruce brought over his paddle board for me to try out and then went off for a walk. Pete was out exploring in the dinghy, so I thought I would try the board straight away, so he wouldn't see me fall in. Amazingly, I didn't fall in and I felt quite stable after 30 seconds and was able to paddle up and down. It was a very large board though, so perhaps easier to balance on. Pete came up behind me in the dinghy to try and put me off but to no avail. He then decided to have a go himself and he didn't fall in either. We resolved to buy one next year, as I definitely need something that will maintain my core strength and prevent re-occurrence of my back injury. It can be difficult to exercise sufficiently on a small boat.
Ufuk, on Rocco returned and moored at the top of the anchorage and then Behcet arrived in Pamphile III, mooring alongside us. He invited us on board for tea and biscuits and to have a look at his yacht, a 46 foot Amel, which is a French classic yacht. It was very spacious and had lots of headroom. Behcet also showed us all his provisions, enough for a year or two, all filling up the bilges and in baskets on every surface, including the floor. He also had a large keyboard set up in the saloon, complete with music stand. Behcet went to Leeds university to study and was in a number of rock bands in the Manchester area, back in the late 60's and 70's. We invited him to come over for a cup of tea later. We had also invited Bruce for dinner that evening. Pete decided to make a very large bolognaise, so he could feed all four of us if Behcet didn't arrive before Bruce. Bruce, Pete and I were having a G&T by the time Behcet joined us and he chose the same, rather than a cup of tea. We were all four getting on very well, so Behcet was persuaded to stay for dinner, where we shared a bottle of red wine. We had some music on and Behcet was explaining things about each piece and its qualities, how it had been produced etc. He had a look at Pete's guitar and declared its strings damaged but that the guitar itself would be fine with a new set. Bruce said he was trying to teach himself the keyboard and we all ended up having a good singalong. I think Behcet and Bruce will meet again and Behcet will probably give him some guidance. It was a very enjoyable night.

Summer 2022 - Turkey - Late Summer - Gokova North Side

26 September 2022
Donna Cariss
It was 1120 hours when we left the palm-fringed beach under 'the Hook' in Degirmen Buku, as we were waiting for the wind, so we could sail across the gulf, having had enough of motoring from bay to bay. We had full sails up as the wind was very light. It was also more or less on the nose and we had to tack backwards and forwards to make our way to the end of the inlet. Once we passed the headland, the wind lifted slightly and blew from the west, so we were able to stay on the one tack, all the way across the gulf, to Akbuk Limani, on the north side of Gokova. The wind steadily increased to 18 knots and we put a reef in both sails, maintaining a boat speed of around 6 knots. However, as we moved away from the land, the wind dropped off a little, so we released the foresail fully again, leaving the reef in the main, as we expected the wind might increase again as we neared the northern shore. We were able to sail all the way into Akbuk Limani, a deep bay which faces east, away from the prevailing winds. It was a much larger bay than we had envisaged and had a restaurant pontoon in the southwest corner and a long beach, backed by bars and restaurants on the west side. On the north side, there were high mountains, leading down to rocky coves. Having skirted round the bay, considering our options, we decided to swing at anchor on the north side, which was only 5 metres deep and good holding in mud and sand. The south side was sheltered but we would need to anchor in about 16 metres and there was weed on top of the sand, making the holding less secure, especially with our CQR anchor. There were already 4 yachts anchored so we dropped our anchor east of them and it held firm first time. We put the outboard on the dinghy and headed over to the pontoon to have a look around. We walked the full length of the beachfront and stopped at a bar at the far end, only to find it didn't serve alcohol, a pity, as it had a table in the refreshing cool of a freshwater spring which was emptying into the sea. Eventually we found a bar which served alcohol and had a beer each. This is a small holiday resort, which caters for the Turks and has a more Muslim bent. There was a single row of beds and brollies along the narrow shingle beach, so it wasn't too crowded but it was a lively little place. I bought a few provisions at a small market and we returned along the beach to the dinghy. On our way back to the boat, we called in to an interesting looking place less than 200 metres from our boat. We thought it might be a campsite with a bar, as it looked a bit ramshackle from a distance. We tied up to the little jetty and could now see that there was a restaurant and bar up through the trees with tables under a white wooden arbor, as well as tables dotted around in various shady areas. There were also decked areas, in tiers and of various shapes and sizes, with sunbeds and / or tables and chairs, allowing you to have an almost private space to eat, sunbath and swim, overlooking the bay. We were lucky enough to grab one such place, with a lovely view of Muirgen. Pete went to the bar to order a couple of beers but said they didn't have any crisps and I was getting a bit peckish. He said, however, that the bar owner was bringing us something else. What he brought us was a bucket full of live sea urchins. He sat down beside us and with a heavily gloved hand, picked up an urchin and proceeded to show us how to clean it to get to the meat. The meat was formed in 6 pockets around the edge of the shell and he teased it out with a small teaspoon, before adding olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Pete tried it first and then it was my turn. I was a little apprehensive but decided it was small enough to just swallow if I didn't like it. It was actually pretty good, perhaps not something I would die for but an option if we ran out of protein. The man continued to gut the urchins and we tasted more and when he found one which was more yellow than beige, that was much better, akin to a small oyster. The action was drawing a small crowd, some wanting to try it and some pulling faces of distaste. We shook the man's hand and thanked him before heading back to the boat, Pete in the dinghy and me swimming there.
Later that evening, we listened to the Superleague Grand Final, between Wigan and Leeds. Wigan were battering Leeds, who held well in defence but struggled to get down field in attack. However, it was only 4 points to 2 at the break, with Leeds scoring a late penalty kick and Wigan having only one unconverted try to show for their efforts. The second half was a whole different story, with Leeds coming out victorious at 20 points to 8. We were into the Grand Final from 5th place. It was now after midnight, Turkish time.
We spent a lazy morning at anchor, following our late night. Around 11.30am I saw something in the water, which then disappeared. Then it surfaced again and it was a turtle. Not long after, we had a squadron of cuttlefish alongside us, presumably what the turtle was hunting. There were at least 30 of them. Having eaten lunch, we repaired to the Roco Beach Restaurant and Bar where we found a circular decking area with 2 sunbeds and an umbrella. Pete ordered a beer and a bottle of water for me and we settled down to soak up a bit of sun, have a dip in the sea and tune into the other Superleague semi-final, between St Helens and Salford. Salford put up a brave fight but lost out to Saints; some say they were robbed by the ref but it's hard to tell from the radio commentary. That set us up for a grand final, at Old Trafford, on Saturday, against St Helens. They would hopefully be without Morgan Knowles following a horrendous chicken wing tackle on Chris Ackers.
In the evening, we returned to the Roco Beach for dinner and wandered up to the bar area, as there were no tables available on the decks. We were greeted there by the owner who took us back towards the sea to look for a secluded table overlooking the sea. As we knew, they were all full, so he duly removed the sunbeds from where we had spent the afternoon, swept the deck and placed a table and 2 matching chairs there for us. Nothing was too much effort; typical of the Turkish hospitality. The menu was only available in Turkish so we had a discussion with the owner about our preferences for food. We said meat, not fish, as we had eaten plenty of fish recently. Pete selected lamb with mushroom sauce and although I fancied the same, I was persuaded, by Pete, to order the beef which sat on potatoes, yoghurt and tomatoes, which did sound appetising. We ordered a decent bottle of white wine and a bottle of water too. It really was a romantic setting and the food was fabulous. Pete got carried away and ordered a second bottle of the very good wine, while I considered what it might cost. I estimated £30 a bottle, as wine is not cheap in Turkey. The final bill, including what we had to drink in the afternoon, was around £125, of which less than £25 was food. The wine was actually 690 TL per bottle (£34). However, it was a fantastic afternoon and evening and the proprietor worked hard for his cash. As we sat finishing the wine, a floating object came into view in the darkness. I was convinced it was a paddle board, lost from someone's boat and we resolved to 'rescue' it on the way home. Disappointingly, it was only a polystyrene float, so I wouldn't be trying paddle boarding yet.
It was Sunday 18th September and we needed to get our blue card updated to say our black water waste had been emptied, so we needed to go to Oren Marina, about 6 miles west of Akbuk. Going west is difficult against the wind and swell, so we were up reasonably early to leave before the wind increased. The anchor was well dug in and came up surrounded by a massive clump of mud, which required the boat hook to dislodge. The sea and wind were calm and we arrived at Oren marina at 10.30am and contacted them on the VHF. They welcomed us to the marina and said to come in and await assistance. Inside, there was a catamaran on the fuelling pontoon and a yacht waiting to go to the fuelling pontoon and the marina boys, in their dinghy, were assisting another yacht onto the fuel pontoon; a busy morning. The dinghy came to us and asked us for a 10 metre rope, which was unusual. I handed one over and we followed them down the marina to A pontoon, the wall at the end, by the restaurants. The purpose of the 10m line was to tie it to the lazy line, such that the line that came on board was a nice, clean one, whereas the usual lazy lines, which spend much of their lives under water and wallowing on the bottom, are often dirty and impregnated with barnacles and urchin spikes. They are sometimes referred to as slime lines. Having moored up and visited the office to check in, where we met Halil, who we had previously had email contact with in relation to our proposed summer berth, we found the Little Havana Cafe, where we had brunch. The menu was limited but adequate and I chose a cheese and mushroom omelette and Pete the toast with cheese, accompanied by 2 Turkish teas. The breakfast was a veritable feast and even with 2 extra teas, came to £7.50. No more food would be required until tea time. Back on board, we unpacked the folding bikes, pumped up the tyres, using a bike pump left against the harbour wall with 2 other bikes and set off down the promenade. We hadn't gone long before Pete appeared to ship his chain. I continued on, assuming he would soon catch up but he didn't. I turned back and the sprocket had detached and the chain was hanging loose. We tried to fix it but it needed tools, so we left the bikes at a bar and continued on foot, hearing an Aussie accent on our way. We returned to the bar and sat down for a beer and iced tea and the barman called over to a guy that his English friends were here. He came over and sat down and explained that he had been on the fuelling pontoon that morning and was really excited to hear an English accent and professionalism on the VHF that morning. His name was Bruce and his catamaran was at anchor off the beach. We had a long chat and a drink and swapped numbers. Pete and Bruce had stuffed mussels from a passing street cart and then we returned to the boat to fix the bike. The Leeds Rhinos Ladies won the Superleague Grand Final, 12 - 4 against York, although we had missed listening to it. Overnight it was very humid and we were plagued by mosquitos, as a result of being close to the long grass and plants in front of the restaurants and bars.
At 9am on Monday morning, we phoned for our laundry to be collected, before going for breakfast at Little Havana. I was surprised when the man said the laundry would be back to us at 2pm. As we were eating breakfast, we saw the Scottish guys, who said to come over to the other restaurant where they were planning to eat. They were in for repairs, not the first time in their 3 week charter and described their sailing so far as 'The Voyage of the Damned'. Having split up after their breakfast, we returned to the boat to do the chores, something which can't be escaped when living on aboard. The duster, the vacuum cleaner and the mop were out to clean the inside of the boat to within an inch of its life and the bedding was changed. The water was replenished too. Then we headed to Marin House, a bar in the marina, not far from our yacht, to watch the Queen's funeral. We had lunch there while we were watching too. The laundry was returned bang on 2pm and had been washed, dried and ironed; 3 loads for £30. We are not used to having clothes ironed while on board; what a treat. Even Pete's cargo shorts were beautifully pressed. Overnight we were assaulted by the mosquitos again.
Bruce had recommended a French cafe for breakfast so, on the Tuesday morning, we headed off on our bikes to sample its delights, only to find that it is closed on Tuesdays, so we went to the El Coridor restaurant instead. We had a good read of the menu and noticed that they did a T-bone steak for £12.50, so decided to go there for dinner that evening. We provisioned at the marina Migros, ready to leave the following morning. The wind had really blown up and the swell with it. The boats in the marina were rocking and rolling, as there is no wave breaker under the concrete pontoons, something that Kamil, at Kairos had warned us about. Our boat was in the best place, being sheltered from the wind by the buildings but when we returned to the boat, one of my flipflops had been blown away. Damn! We agreed that the boat was being moored in the best place for the winter, behind the huge concrete walls of Kairos marina. We topped up the water and I got bitten by ants in the process. We then put everything on to charge before heading for a shower. The facilities at Oren are excellent, in that respect. The shower blocks are air conditioned, very modern and clean and have hairdryers. With todays cooling wind and the aircon, I was actually able to blow dry my hair straight without needing another shower afterwards. Bliss! The T-Bone steaks were excellent and I almost as excited by the bowl of freshly cooked vegetables that came with it. I hadn't had broccoli or carrots in weeks. After dinner, we headed to Marin House for a quick one, feet up in the egg chairs, listening to great music and watching the seascapes videos on the big screen.
Next morning, we settled up with the marina, them applying the fees against the credit on our account and had our blue card registered, then we radioed for assistance leaving the quayside. We needed to fuel up so headed onto the fuelling pontoon. The swell was rolling in through the marina entrance, making it extremely bouncy on the pontoon but we somehow managed to fuel up without making too much mess. We stayed within the confines of the marina to remove our lines and fenders and then set out into the swell. Our time on the north coast was coming to an end, for the time being at least.



Summer 2022 - Turkey - Late Summer - English Harbour

26 September 2022
Donna Cariss
Having collected our frozen water and fresh meat supplies, we dropped the lazy line and slipped our aft lines and motored off the pontoon. We were travelling the short distance to Castle and Snake Islands, which have some old ruins, including an ampitheatre and castle ramparts. On the west side of Castle Island, there is also a lovely palm-fringed beach, known as Cleopatra's Beach. Whether she actually ever went there is anyone's guess. There wasn't the slightest breeze and the sea was like a millpond, allowing us to easily spot a turtle en route. Having checked with a Global Sailing yacht, that it was ok to do so, we anchored off the east side of Castle Island in a sheltered bay, dropping the anchor in around 12 metres of water and taking 2 stern lines ashore. The other yacht anchored just north of us. We thought this would avoid the many trip boats visiting the island, as we assumed they would pull up to the jetty on the north east side. However, the peace and tranquillity was soon broken when a double decker trip boat moored alongside us and it was full of men; not a woman or girl to be seen. I felt a little conspicuous in my bikini. All day, the tripper boats and gullets came and went, squeezing in between us and the other yacht, where there really wasn't room but they didn't care. It was terribly noisy. Another double decker trip boat pulled in on our port side and it was very close. Their passengers were sitting on our stern lines, in the water, pulling us closer still to the boat and others were bombing off the top deck, creating massive splashes of water, which went through our port holes, wetting the bed and floor. We complained to the captain, who suggested we move away, to which we said he should get his passengers off our line and we would naturally move away. He had a word with the bombers, some of whom changed to diving in, making less of a splash and eventually the captain put a chain across the top deck platform. The wind was blowing from the north east and when the trip boat departed, it was blown on to us and we had to fend it off. That boat was then replaced by two others, both squeezing between us and the other yacht, with the most northerly boat almost touching the Global Sailing yacht. It was ridiculous. It was impossible for us to leave though, as there were too many crossed anchor chains over ours. Eventually there was just one smaller sunset cruise boat beside us and they were much quieter, having a swim and then dinner on board and after that the peace returned. The other yacht returned to Karacasogut and we were alone for the night. The island was now closed, so were unable to go ashore, it having not been possible to do so during the day, leaving the yacht in danger. There was a swell but it calmed in the night. It was hot and humid and we had to remove the mosquito nets to get comfortable and then we slept.
On Monday morning, we were up and off early, before we could get trapped in by trip boats. We motored round to the west side to take a photo of Cleopatra's Beach and then continued on to Degirmen Buku, with the aim of anchoring in English Harbour, so called because the SBS (Special Boat Service) had a base there in the second world war, according to our pilot book. As we approached English Harbour, we could see the President's Palace at the end of the bay and the white crosses on each side which mark the no entry zone for boats. Once inside the anchorage, we spotted a familiar yacht, the beautiful polished wood of the boat belonging to Ghenghis and dropped our anchor to moor up alongside him. Ghenghis and his wife lived in Canada for a time, so speak very good English. There were also yachts and gullets flying German, Dutch and American ensigns, giving the place a very international feel. The anchorage was beautiful. We took the dinghy around the shallows opposite and saw a kingfisher darting around, the first fleeting sighting for me. Back on board, we watched the Queen's procession through Edinburgh and the service at St Giles, on the mobile phone and after tea, as darkness fell, I downloaded a stargazing app and we explored the night sky, spectacular with no light pollution again.
The following morning we were woken early by the sound of an anchor chain close by and rose to see a yacht reversing alongside us and fending off our bow with a boat hook. The yacht was called 'Seas the Day' and we had seen it previously in Kairos Marina, changing over passengers, some of whom were doing their sailing training. Despite the skipper being a sailing instructor, he seemed to have no clue how to anchor. His crew were putting down the anchor and all the chain, in a pile and then reversing back, so the anchor wasn't digging in and there was no tension to control the boat. Pete was trying to help by shouting advice but the skipper was having none of it and we needed to stay on board, ready to fend off. Eventually, a man from the yacht opposite swam over and provided instructions and the anchor held and the aft lines were tied on shore. Now we could relax. The Turkish man who helped, rolled his eyes at us as he swam back to his boat.
There were lots of big fish jumping around the boat but by the time Pete had his fishing rod out, they had moved away. Later, an official looking boat arrived and we asked Ghenghis what it was doing. We are always worried that we will be caught breaking the rules, for instance tying onto trees, even though everyone does it. Ghenghis explained that it was a black water pump out boat, for use by people who don't go to marinas to have their waste pumped out. We didn't need it as it was less than 15 days since we had our blue card updated before leaving Kairos marina.
It was due to get windy in the afternoon and the anchorage was really filling up with yachts, gullets, catamarans and motor boats. The trials and tribulations of other people attempting to anchor provided ample entertainment for the day. It was absolute chaos. Rocco, a 50 foot sailing yacht came in. It had been beside us on the pontoon in Karacasogut, so Pete went to assist as the man was alone, except for his quite elderly mother. Ufuk was extremely grateful to Pete for securing his long lines ashore. Ufuk introduced himself and explained that his name means Horizon in English. We were visited by a man from Minehead, who was on one of the gullets. He had seen the British ensign and recognised the boat as a Westerly, so wanted to chat. I asked him what the gullet holidays were like and he said they are great, with all meals provided and visiting different places to swim every day. The gullet he was on had 2 English couples and 6 people of other nationalities but everyone was getting on fine. Despite the strong winds and likely swell outside of the bays, the ice cream man still made it from Karacasogut in his little boat and he had brought Pete's beers too. We didn't buy ice cream today but the little boat returned alongside, explaining that Ufuk had paid for ice creams for us, to say thankyou for the help.
While his passengers were swimming and paddle boarding, the skipper of Seas the Day came to speak to us, introducing himself as Tolga. He said he teaches English but it doesn't pay very well so he also skippers the boat. He offered to sail with us if we were ever shorthanded but I don't think it's likely we would take up his offer, given his performance today. After he left, his customers also came for a chat. They were Turkish but spoke excellent English and said they all lived in Dublin. Pete asked if they were in the food industry, or more precisely, whether they had a kebab shop (he knows how to stereotype!). Luckily they weren't upset by the suggestion but explained that they all work for a tech company. They had chartered the yacht, with a skipper, for a holiday.
As the sun set, we had a G&T on the front of the boat, our favourite time of day, when the sun isn't burning. Overnight the temperature dropped to 18C and we had to reach for the blanket.
On Wednesday morning, we departed English Harbour but didn't go very far. We investigated a few anchorages on the east side of Degirmen Buku but they appeared to be full of wasps, so we crossed to the west side and anchored off the beach with very long lines ashore, tying 2 lines together to reach a palm tree up the beach. Here there was a little restaurant, with a terrace, nestled amongst the palm trees, behind a pebble beach. The sea was a beautiful, clear turquoise. We had landed in Paradise. We headed to shore to look around and found a small market, a little craft cabin, toilets, large rubbish bins, the restaurant and bar, a fresh water shower by the beach and a long hose for replenishing your water supplies. Sorted! We returned to the boat to swim and relax, appreciating that it was a little bit cooler today. In the early afternoon, we went for a beer and were nearly bowled over by two golden retrievers, one male and one female, competing for attention. This was another restaurant owned by people who had been closed down by Erdogan when he built his palace. They had relocated but could not attract as many customers here, with the more open bay, as they did in the sheltered inlet with the pontoons. We met a Turkish couple in the restaurant who live in Orange County, near Los Angeles. They were on maternity / paternity leave, having just had a baby girl and had come 'home' for a holiday and to see their parents. They had been allowed out for lunch while the parents did baby-sitting duty. We had just returned to the boat when the ice cream man arrived. He was bringing beer for Pete, a special request. We had dinner in the restaurant that evening, a very romantic setting. The calamari was excellent, as was the swordfish.
Next morning, I was sitting in the cockpit, facing the beach and saw a flash of turquoise, as 2 kingfishers flew like bullets right across the bay, close in shore. Pete missed it as he was still gently snoring in his bunk. I went for a swim around the boat, hanging on to the anchor chain for a while. I felt a sharp pain in my right wrist and looked down to find a thin, black, creature, about 4 inches long hanging off my wrist. I knocked it off and it tried to attach itself to the inside of my left leg. I knocked it off again and practically walked on water to the swim ladder at the stern, where I checked to see that the creature was no longer there. A red rash appeared on my wrist and was painful to the touch. The internet gave no clue as to what this might have been but I wasn't in a rush to get back in the water. However, we decided to stay here another night and take advantage of the beach, where there were no sea urchins to look out for and hopefully no other blood-sucking eels or leeches. From there we saw the kingfishers again, coming back the other way. We ate in the restaurant again, just meze and salad, followed by Turkish tea. I felt something in my hair and brushed it away quickly. The Pete reached out and removed something from my neck, putting it on the table. It was a praying mantis, about 5cm long. I had had my share of creatures for today.
On Friday morning, we disposed of our rubbish and bought salad and vegetables from the little market before departing the paradise bay.

Summer 2022 - Turkey - Late Summer - Karacasogut (Sogut)

22 September 2022 | Karacasogut
Donna Cariss
Thursday 8th September we woke to a dew for the first time and it had been a little chilly in the early hours, requiring a sheet over us in bed. However, by 8am it was up to 23C. There was no wind, so we motored from Seven Islands to Karacasogut. The views were stunning as we passed through the islands and round the headland, heading east. As we approached the large bay at Karacasogut, we passed the Scots boys coming the other way and we waved to each other. The Turks don't wave when you pass close by but Brits always do. We headed into the bay and were surprised to see many yachts swinging at anchor, which is rare in Turkey. Most of them were what we would call 'proper boats' too i.e. not large Med style boats but smaller yachts with stacker packs instead of an in mast furling mainsail and all the paraphernalia of a cruising yacht. There were a few pontoons on the west side of the bay; one belonging to Global Sailing and the others belonging to the restaurants on the shoreline of the small village but we decided to swing at anchor. The water was quite deep and we had to go quite close in to drop our anchor in about 15 metres of water. We let out all 50 metres of chain and the anchor was on well, so we were happy. Some yachts were anchored in 30 metres of water and would have needed 80-100 metres of chain. We headed to the nearest pontoon in the dinghy and went into the nearest restaurant, Raca, for a beer. It was more expensive than most but it had been recommended to us by Biga, so we booked a table for dinner that evening. After the beer, we wandered down the lane, following a sign for another restaurant. This one was very rustic and much cheaper and had no menu. A man was sitting at a table, waiting for the lady to cook his takeaway lunch, a traditional thin bread, cooked on a hotplate and spread with cheese and herbs, then folded. The man explained that this was the daily lunch offering and that the filling would vary by day. We decided we would come for lunch tomorrow. We continued walking round towards the sea front and went into Yucel, another restaurant with lovely gardens and had another beer. We sat at the bar, talking to the owner, Arpol. He told us that he had a restaurant in the bay near English Harbour but that he was moved out when the Summer Palace was built close by for the President. He said that there are elections in November and that he thought Erdogan would not get in again and hopefully someone else would be president and sort out the economy. Inflation is running at 60-80% and the value of the Lira is constantly falling. Turkey remains cheap for us, because the exchange rate has gone from 7.9 to 21 TL to the pound. We decided that this place was preferable to Raca, so booked a table for dinner and cancelled our table at Raca, as we made our way back to the dinghy. Back on aboard, Pete had a message from Ferhat saying he was in Sogut. Unfortunately he had not realised that we were in Karacasogut, also called Sogut and he had driven to Sogut near Bosburan, which was miles away.
In the evening, we went ashore for dinner and were given a table overlooking the sea, next to a pommegranite tree, sporting lots of ripe pommegranites. There were no printed menus. Instead, you were escorted to the front of the kitchen to make selections of meze, meat and fish from the refridgerated cabinet. I chose the swordfish skewer and Pete selected the spiced kebab. There was a little black and white kitten sitting in the tree and Pete spent time playing with it and trying to entice it down. Arpol also told us that there was a cat with 9 kittens, living in one of the large round bushes on the lawn and we saw the mother catching mice as we ate our food. The setting was very romantic, except for the mosquitos, so we moved to the bar to drink tea. Here we heard the sad news that the Queen had died. Arpol offered his condolences, as did Ghenghis, a man we spoke to on the pontoon, as we left to return to the boat. The boat was now facing south and we were rather close to another boat, so we left the wind turbine on all night to help us monitor the wind. For me, this meant no sleep and we were both up and down, checking the proximity of the boats, as the wind howled all night. At 5.30am we were again facing north west, so the turbine went off and peace fell, before being broken by the call to prayer at 5.45am. After that, we slept.
On Friday a number of Turkish people passing the boat, saw our British Ensign and came to give us their condolences. They said they also felt our sadness and that she had been a great queen, not just for Britain but for the World. It was very touching.
At lunchtime, we headed to the rustic restaurant to try the traditional flatbread, having one with cheese and herbs and another with potato. Both were tasty but the potato one was, surprisingly, the better of the two. We booked for dinner and selected a lombuku (dorado) to be cooked on the BBQ for us. It was delicious and the bill for the evening was 630 TL (£30), including drinks. We returned to the boat in time for the Superleague elimination semi-final, between Leeds Rhinos and Catalans Dragons. There was an impeccable minute's silence, followed by our national anthem and both teams wore black armbands. This was followed by a bad tempered match, with Catalans continually losing their discipline and suffering 3 sinbins and a red card. Consequently, Leeds won, 20 points to 10, to go through to the semi-final, against Wigan or Saint Helens, depending on the outcome of the following day's match between Huddersfield and Salford.
On Saturday morning we moved to Arpol's pontoon, where we could get electricity to charge all our devices, including the little vacuum cleaner, fill up with fresh water and wash the boat. The price was 200 TL (£10), so a bargain. There was a decent supermarket next door to Raca, so we provisioned the boat and asked them to put 6 bottles of water in the freezer for us, which would help keep the fridge cold the next day. With all the chores done, we headed to Yucel to utilise their excellent wi-fi to listen to the Huddersfield -v- Salford match. Huddersfield were abysmal and lost 28 to nil, meaning Salford went through to the semi-finals. As they finished lower than us in the league, they would play Saints and Leeds would play Wigan, next Friday. Arpol said we would get a discount on the mooring if we were eating dinner at the restaurant, so we reserved a table and planned to douse ourselves in deet beforehand. We met the man from Pamphile III, who had been our neighbour at anchor and had a good chat. His English was excellent and it turned out that he spent six years at Leeds University. We had a peaceful night secure on the pontoon and rose early to collect our frozen water, before departing Karacasogut.

Summer 2022 - Turkey - Late Summer - 5 Nights at Anchor in Gokova

12 September 2022
Donna Cariss
There was no wind and the sea was flat calm, so we motored all the way to Cati Buku, in Gokova, described as 'Heaven'. We tried trawling for tuna, as we had been told it was the season but we had no luck. We covered the 20 miles in a little over 3 hours, enjoying the sunshine and the cooling breeze, caused by our forward motion across the sea. Gerence Bay and Cati Buku were full, other than a small inlet where we tried to anchor but failed to hold, bringing up clumps of weed when we raised the anchor. We continued to the next bay, aptly named Middle Bay and found a space, tucked in round the corner, beside a small, traditional gullet boat and a yacht. It was a good, sheltered mooring and very pretty. We took 2 lines ashore and settled in to listen to the Leeds Rhinos v Castleford Tigers match online. It was the last match of the regular season and whoever won would take the last place in the play-offs; in fact, Leeds only needed a draw. With 10 minutes to go, Castleford were leading by 8 points and Leeds got a penalty. They successfully kicked for 2 and needed a try to get the draw. That put the doubt in Castleford's minds and Leeds managed to score a try, followed by another, giving them a 14 to 8 point win. We were through to the play-offs, having been next to bottom of the league, earlier in the season. Salford duly lost to Warrington, allowing Leeds to move into 5th, giving us an away game against Catalans Dragons, in Perpignan, the following Friday.
I had read that mosquitos are not actually repelled by citronella, as widely advertised but don't like many herbs and definitely dislike lavender, so I had brought 6 packs of lavender joss sticks with us to try. There were quite a few wasps, as well as the mosquitos, once the sun had set behind the trees, so we lit a lavender joss stick. We were surprised to find that this repelled the wasps, as well as the mosquitos, so there was no need to burn any of the coffee we had bought. As darkness fell, we fitted the mosquito nets and headed to a sweaty night in bed, as the nets restrict the airflow.
We elected to stay where we were on Sunday, as it was very pleasant. The small gullet left and was quickly replaced by a larger one. It got up to 36C, so we did lots of swimming. A few people walked by, on a path that wound its way through the trees, round the edge of the anchorages of Cati Buku. The wind really picked up and the anchorage was soon crowded with gullets of different sizes. Some were painted while others were left as highly polished wood but they were all very beautiful. Pete poked me with the gas lighter, after lighting another joss stick, not considering that the end would be hot and subsequently burned my leg. Other then that, it was a lovely evening on board. It was quite a noisy night. There was a small fishing boat in the corner of the anchorage, with 3 men on board, who were joined after dark by a small rib with a couple more guys on board. They were drinking raku late into the night but still managed to get up at 4am to go out and set their nets, returning and making more commotion at 5.15am. We were tempted to play loud music to wake them when we rose early but we wanted to get up and off before the strong meltemi wind picked up again. The gullets had already departed. We brought up the anchor and headed out of the bay, intending to go to Amazon Creek, about 3 miles to the north east, where there's a restaurant. After less than 10 minutes, we had had enough of the vicious swell rolling the boat from side to side, so we turned round and headed back towards Buku Cati but to the more eastward anchorages. We investigated a number of small inlets but, other than one which was full of small fishing boats, they weren't suitable. We ended up in the inlet immediately east of where we had spent the last 2 nights. We dropped the anchor close to the east side of the inlet and reversed to the west side, tucked in as far as possible behind a small bluff and took a long line ashore. As the day wore on, a slight swell developed, causing us to rock gently from side to side but t wasn't too uncomfortable. Pete, tired as usual, laid out on the bench seat in the saloon, whilst I watched the progress of a flotilla, sailing around the headland opposite and on towards Amazon Creek. Luckily they had a following wind and swell and once they had rounded the headland, they had shelter from the land. There were 7 vessels in total, comprising a catamaran, a blue-hulled yacht, a white yacht with charcoal sails and 4 white yachts with white sails. They were spread up to about 1 hour apart. Through the binos, I watched the lead crew usher one yacht at a time into an anchorage behind a small headland until there were 6 vessels in there. The other yacht had sailed a little further east and tucked into a very small inlet. They didn't go to Amazon Creek. This kept me occupied for a good 90 minutes, providing commentary to Pete from time to time. He eventually rose and made a note of the anchorages on the Navionics app on the tablet.
Later in the afternoon, I went skinny dipping, as we had the anchorage all to ourselves and then I had a good shower on the back of the boat, washing my hair and using more water than I should have done. I had barely got a towel round me when a family arrived at the beach to swim. That was a close one! Then the black flies were out. Nothing seems to repel them and they must have teeth as they don't half bite. The wind had been up all afternoon and the swell had increased too, so it wasn't the most pleasant rock when we got into bed. A mosquito or black fly managed to bite my eye corner too, making it water and become sore. I didn't have a good night and was happy to get up for our 0715 start to Amazon Creek, planned to avoid the forecast meltemi and resulting swell.
We changed our mind about our destination, as the wind was forecast to blow hard from the west for several days, meaning it would be tough working our way west along the shore from Amazon Creek. We changed direction and headed towards the headland opposite, towards Yedi Adalari (Seven Islands). We saw a shoal of tuna jumping as they chased smaller fish and Pete put out the trawling line but we didn't catch anything despite motoring straight through them. We rounded the headland and the next one, before turning east through the narrow entrance to the seven islands. It was stunning; very much like the west coast of Scotland but with blue sky and the sun shimmering on the sea. The first anchorage was busy with gullets, so we wove our way through the channels, considering our options. I decided we should head to East Creek, the most easterly anchorage, with a very narrow and shallow entrance with a sandbar. There were no AIS targets visible on the plotter so it would hopefully be quiet. We could see a single mast behind the small, low headland and sure enough, there was just one small yacht there with long lines ashore. Perfect. We apologised for disturbing the peace, as we anchored and the Turkish lady said, in perfect English, 'please come and share the peace with us'. It was still only 9am. Pete took 2 lines ashore; one to a rock and the other to a tree, as rocks were few and far between.
As the day progressed, more and more boats arrived, squeezing in where they could. Even the largest of gullets were coming to look but had to turn away and go elsewhere. It was a great, sheltered anchorage and really strong winds were forecast again. After lunch, the Turkish lady and her husband came over in their dinghy, bringing us a hot dessert wrapped in tin foil. She explained that it is made from oil, butter and sugar and is traditionally eaten when someone has died but that they eat it all the time as they love it. She said she had lost her sister a few months ago though, so we could say a prayer for her while we were eating it. We thanked her and duly tried it. It wasn't as sweet as we imagined it would be but it wasn't really to our taste. Immediately after that, the ice cream man arrived in his little motor boat, so we took advantage of that, with an almond Magnum apiece.
Pete went ashore and walked to the top of the little headland. He came back and said it was a different world on the other side, with a really big swell and waves crashing on the rocks. It was calm as a millpond on our side, although we could still feel the wind and see the courtesy flags flying up the mast. I suddenly noticed that we were much closer to the Turkish yacht than before and looking round, there was no sign of the other end of the line which had been tied to the rock. There was no sign of the rock either. The force of the wind had pulled so hard on the line that the rock had collapsed. Pete had to climb the bank and tie that line to a tree as well. An American flagged yacht came in and the crew had a terrible time trying to anchor and reverse back to take a line ashore. Eventually, Pete and a local guy, from a small motor boat, went to assist them and we were all safe from collision. The anchorage was now full to bursting. I had a great night's sleep, with the usual 3am wakeful period, which I spent gazing at the stars, which were nothing short of amazing in this place of zero light pollution.
On Wednesday (7th September), we remained where we were, as the place was delightful. We took the dinghy to the point, where the wind pushes the water through the narrow channel into the bay and Pete tried some fishing while I sat on a rock, up to my waist in lovely, cool water. Despite seeing the fish jumping, Pete caught nothing, not even a nibble. A motor yacht came in and moored up on the outside of the little Turkish yacht and Pete went to take their line ashore. They turned out to be Czechs and swam and walked around naked the whole time. Pete had seen a sign for a restaurant, high up on a rock, as we had originally motored towards East Creek, so we put the engine on the dinghy, using the handy billy, on the end of the boom and went off to look for it. We found it, in North Cove but it was bordering on derelict. There were a couple of small boats moored up and a red truck and also a little stall selling honey but nobody was about. There was a yacht moored up in the small, sheltered bay, in the shadow of the headland, where it would have spent a very peaceful night, hidden from the wind and the swell. We returned to East Creek to find a yacht at anchor in the middle of the lagoon and it was flying a large Scottish Saltaire, so we went over to chat. There were 4 men on board, 2 Scots and 2 English, all whom lived in a small village near Bath. The Scots were out for 3 weeks, with the English guys going home after a week, to be replaced by Dave's family, for a week and then another 2 English guys. They had chartered a Hansa from a small company based at Oren marina. We gave them our card and hoped to bump into each other again, as you don't see many, if any, Brits in this part of Turkey. They had only stopped for lunch and a swim and were heading east, with the wind behind them in the afternoon.
We returned to the boat and I went down below. Pete started shouting my name but I didn't react quickly enough. Why would I? He's always shouting me to pass or do something. However, on this occasion, I missed 2 kingfishers sitting on our stern line. Damn! The ice cream man came again and I consoled myself with a lemon sorbet. We spent another peaceful night aboard.

Summer 2022 - Turkey - Late Summer - Preparing to Sail

10 September 2022
Donna Cariss
It was another early start from home, with Tim picking us up at 2am, for our 6am flight from Leeds Bradford. This time, we were flying to Bodrum Milas airport, to avoid the road trip from Dalaman to Datca. There were clouds throughout the flight and we were amazed to still have clouds on our approach to Turkey, giving some respite from the sun. We landed at 1215 hours and found our taxi man, from Shuttleboard, waiting for us. He introduced himself as Mehmet. He said it would be about 45 minutes to the marina in Bodrum, where the ferry departs for Kormen and asked what time the ferry was leaving. The next and final ferry of the day was 1800 hours, so we had plenty of time to kill. Mehmet said he would show us a bit of Bodrum on our way. We passed some beautiful bays, heading south from the airport, with classy hotels and many boats at anchor. Mehmet told us he is Adele's father and explained how he had met her mother. We looked it up later and her parents are English and Welsh! Mehmet took us to a high point, where we could get out and look down on the town and the harbour and then he took us to a Turkcell shop, in town, where we could buy a tourist sim card, to provide us with some mobile data. We had told him we needed this and also that we planned to eat before getting on the ferry. Next Mehmet took us to an out of town Turkish restaurant for lunch. It was a bit early for us, having eaten on the plane and planned to eat around 4pm, before the ferry but we couldn't really say no, as he was being so helpful and friendly. We ordered kebabs and iced tea and I laughed, as all Pete wanted was a cold beer and they didn't serve alcohol, being practicing Muslims. Mehmet gave us his personal mobile number and said to contact him directly whenever we needed a taxi, or any other assistance, so we know we are assured of a taxi back to the airport when we return home. Pete paid the bill for all three of us and we headed to the marina, where Mehmet parked right next to the ticket office. We bought our tickets and posed for a photo, as we were now best buddies with Mehmet. He pointed out where we could get a beer, shook our hands and left. We had 3 hours to kill, some of it in the bar and some of it stretched out in the shade of a tree, in a little green space in the middle of the harbour front road. At 1730 we boarded the ferry and sat on the open air, top deck, front row, ready to snap photos as we left Bodrum. It was a relatively calm trip to Kairos marina which took a little under 2 hours and we arrived just before 8pm, dashing to the Migros Jet to buy milk and tonic water. We walked round to the boat, opened up and dumped the bags inside. The beds needed to be made and then we settled down for a G&T in the cockpit. It had been a long day travelling.
Thursday 1st September dawned bright and sunny but there were still some clouds around to provide occasional relief from the sun. Today we needed to get ship shape. We had filled the fuel tanks and the water before leaving for home but we had sea cocks to open, the engine to check and various other small jobs to do. We headed to the marina office, to look for Kamil, as we had the €3500 cash for our year's berthing fee. He wasn't there but would be back in an hour or so. We had left our bedding and towels at the laundry before we left, so collected those and returned to the boat to put them away. A little shopping was done, for essentials for the next 24 hours, mainly breakfast items, as we would be eating out for main meals. There we also met John, the Englishman who lives aboard his yacht in the marina.
Kamil still wasn't in the office, so Pete messaged him to let him know of our return. We were in Sinem, the cafe bar next to the marina when he replied, so we invited him to join us for a beer but he didn't wish to be seen drinking outside their own establishments. We had received a lovely welcome back to Sinem from Eylul (September). We headed over to the marina office and paid our dues, receiving a photo of Pete handing over the thick envelope followed by a WhatsApp message confirming the amount paid. We had lunch at the yacht club and renewed our acquaintance there. Pete made a new friend in the shower block, Ferhat, who was excited at having completed a 45 day trip on his motor boat, his first, with a friend. However, he had to have the boat lifted to repair some damage sustained by getting too close to the beach.
In the evening, we returned to Sinem for the 7pm parish council meeting, with John, soon to be joined by Bige and Nihat, from yacht Bonji, along with their little dog. Next to arrive was Salim, who we hadn't met before and then Noll, a Dutchman who also lived aboard and skippers yacht charters. There was much chat about politics and then a round of joke telling. The Dutch apparently use the Belgians as the butt of their jokes, whereas the Turks use different regions but essentially, the jokes fit for any country. We agreed to return the following evening, same time and bring the tablet, so everyone could tell us about their favourite places to anchor.
On Friday, we took a taxi to the big Migros supermarket on the outskirts of Datca, so we could provision for a few nights at anchor. We had a long list and managed to purchase most things, other than Heinz salad cream and risotto rice. They seem to sell every other Heinz product but not salad cream, so we grabbed the last bottle of garlic mayo. The bill was £85 and we had chicken, mince, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, soft drinks, beer and wine. Enough to feed us for 5 days.
We ate lunch at the yacht club again and relaxed for the afternoon. Just before 5pm, I headed over to the marina office to get our blue card logged as having had our holding tank emptied. If it was logged after 5pm, it would be registered as the following day. Unfortunately, the electricity had failed and the lady was unable to access the internet to update the register, so we would have to return at 9am on Saturday, causing a delay to our departure. We went to Aurora for dinner and needed the torch on our phones to read the menu as the power was not fully back on. They had a duo performing but it wasn't our thing, so we left as soon as we had eaten. Pete persuaded me to go to the yacht club for a quick drink and it turned into a late night. The same band as we had seen there before were on, so it was a night of dancing until well after midnight. Consequently, it was an effort getting Pete up and motivated on Saturday morning. I went to buy breakfast and Pete went to get the blue card paperwork completed and then we called the marina pilot to let them know we wanted to leave. By this time, we were in a queue, it being Saturday and had to wait a good while. You are not allowed to depart without assistance, due to the marina insurance. By 10am, we were off.
Vessel Name: Muirgen
Vessel Make/Model: Westerly Typhoon
Hailing Port: Hull
Crew: Donna and Peter Cariss
Muirgen's Photos - Main
50 Photos
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Photos of Muirgen preparations
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Created 23 June 2017
Photos are limited as the weather was dreadful and was mostly a white out. Photos are from the phone as too wet to take the cameras.
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The Beautiful Kvitsoy
5 Photos
Created 5 June 2017
Weekend with Hommersak Divers at Kvitsoy
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Created 30 May 2017
Mad creatures
16 Photos
Created 29 May 2017
Getting to Norway and waiting for Donna to fly out
6 Photos
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Created 6 December 2016
Buying Muirgen
6 Photos
Created 26 November 2016